France

Quality vs. Convenience: Comparing France and the United States

Regan Kirsch is a student at Indiana University and an ISA Photo Blogger. She studied with ISA in Paris, France.

‘Mozart.’ This is a typical residential layout where many small, specialized stores are built on the ground floor of apartment buildings.

‘Mozart.’ This is a typical residential layout where many small, specialized stores are built on the ground floor of apartment buildings.

‘Boulangerie’

‘Boulangerie’

One huge difference I have noticed during my time abroad deals with quality versus convenience. In Paris, quality is never sacrificed for the sake of convenience. Yes, convenience stores exist here. But they are nothing compared to a Walmart or Target. It is rather common for the French to go to multiple stores while they are grocery shopping. This is because the stores here are specialized, focusing on one thing such as bread, cheese, fish or dairy products. It is also very uncommon for any store to be open late and many are closed on Sunday.

In America, the most important thing is that something works or it is convenient. There is sometimes a noticeable discrepancy in the quality of these ‘convenience items’. However, it is nice to be able to get these things any time of the day or any day of the week. I guess you just have to ask yourself this: what is more important, the quality of the food or the convenience of it?

The obsession with quality and aesthetics can be seen everywhere in Paris. It is seen in the parks, the architecture, the food and even the people. Life is completely different here. I will always be the first to jump in and defend the beauty of the United States, but Paris is on a completely different level. Sometimes it can only be understood by experiencing it yourself.

‘Notre Dame’. Paris is a city of beauty, simply because it was built with beauty in mind.

‘Notre Dame’. Paris is a city of beauty, simply because it was built with beauty in mind.

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